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La Crosse finally gets guidance from state, feds to “confidently” test for PFAS in municipal water supply

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FILE - On May 13, 2022, US Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin speaks with Lee Anderson, water utility superintendent for the city of La Crosse, at Well 23 on French Island.

New rules from the state of Wisconsin for testing municipal water for PFAS have finally been published, after many months of study, deliberation and debate.

The rules create a structured framework for which La Crosse can begin routine and reliable PFAS testing in the water supply, a news release from the city stated.

PFAS are a class of chemicals used to make products grease proof, water-proof, stick-proof and stain-resistant. They are added to food packaging, like pizza boxes, food wrappers, take out containers, microwave popcorn bags. disposable trays and bakery bags. They’re also used for nonstick pans (Teflon).

And, PFAS are used in firefighting foam, which is the likely cause of well water contamination on French Island that has residents there using bottled water now for well over a year and a half.

Methods have now been provided to the city by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The city says with the new guidelines it has “confidence that the results will provide an accurate determination of contaminant levels, if any, in the city’s water supply.”

City staff are assessing the requirements and beginning the logistical development of a new testing regime for the PFAS.

As soon as testing is complete under the new state requirements, the results will be provided to La Crosse water customers.

For more information, click here. Questions about PFAS: Contact the city’s water department at 608-789-7536.

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